Third Energy to begin decommissioning of North Yorks gas site

Third Energy has announced it is to use new techniques to plug and abandon its Malton A gas site in Ryedale, North Yorkshire.

Malton A wellsite. Source: Third Energy planning application 2018

The operation on the Malton-1 well is due to happen in next month. It is part of the company’s obligation to decommission its wells.

Malton A, in the village of Great Habton, was drilled in 1970 and supplied gas to the Knapton Generating Station. The last gas produced from the Malton gasfield was in 2018 and there’s been no significant volume since 2012.

Third Energy said the well would be plugged using a new abandonment procedure. This is intended to provide better protection against future fugitive emissions and reduce the use of heavy machinery.

The process, supported by the Oil and Gas Technology Centre, is part of a Third Energy project to pilot new plugging and abandonment techniques, reported by DrillOrDrop last year.

It intends to use an isolation plug, supplied by isol8, which creates metallurgically-bonded alloy wellbore barriers.

The company said it was “a step along the abandonment path” using new technology. The process wold be tested before further abandonment work was planned.

Third Energy said it had submitted plans to the Health and Safety Executive.

Malton A wellsite (red line), Great Habton, North Yorkshire. Source: Third Energy planning application 2018

The company has previously said it hoped to re-use old gas sites for renewable geothermal energy. It also said it would challenge an order by the industry regulator, the Oil & Gas Authority, to plug and abandon all the Ryedale wells this year.

In 2017, Third Energy sought unsuccessfully to frack at Kirby Misperton in Ryedale. A year later, after a change of ownership, it said it would focus on conventional energy, rather than fracking. Six months ago, North Yorkshire County Council extended planning permission to 2035 for Third Energy’s Malton, Kirby Misperton, Marishes and Pickering gas sites, as well as the pipeline to Knapton.


The decision to abandon Malton-A has been cautiously welcomed locally. Steve Mason, of Frack Free United, said:

“This is a another signal that we could finally be seeing the fossil fuel chapter of Ryedale’s energy past closing. 

“I’m interested in the technique the company are testing here as during our campaign fugitive emission ranked high in our concerns, and if this plug can seal the well as they claim, then the significance of this technique could be huge.

“In the next few years, there are going to be millions of wells that will need plugging as we transition to a renewable future and if this does prevent significant methane emissions then that must surely be a positive.”

“As the local councillor, I am witnessing the community move on from the division and conflict that fracking brought to this area and beyond. The company have some interesting proposals going forward, some of which would be complete change in energy production in the area, especially with the geothermal ideas put forward last year. These new ideas seem to me to be a progressive and positive step forward in the future of Ryedale.”

9 replies »

  1. Looks like a haven for wildlife now!

    Hope they don’t decide to plonk a wind turbine on the site, and ruin that.

  2. The approximately 30% with tree cover looks like a haven for wildlife. The remaining barren waste, with a high chance of fugitive methane emissions definitely won’t be. The national planning policy of this govt currently decrees that there is virtually no chance of a wind turbine on the site and it wouldn’t be viable anyway unless it was high enough to be well above the tree line, so even less chance than fractionally above nil.

  3. Interesting point you make there about the tree line, Mike.

    Studies have indeed shown that interruption to wind flow is an issue for wind turbines, not only from trees but also other wind turbines.

    Then, there is the noise issue, recently highlighted in France where some have had to be turned off.

    Put them in the sea.

    That “barren waste”, if undisturbed, could also be attractive to ground nesting birds. Methane emissions? Hmm. Seem to notice animal wildlife does not avoid cattle paddocks. The wrong sort of methane?

  4. The “barren waste” would be a most suitable habitat for the Collyer bird.

    This irritating species regularly splatters our forum with unmoderated droppings and could now find a fitting place to bury its head in the sand of climate denial.

    What a relief if the dawn chorus of concerned environmentalism is spared the daily squawking of a discordant pipsqueak.

    In the unlikely event of the Collyer bird finding a mate, being ground nesting , its clutch of rotten eggs might disappear under the wheel of a Contractor’s vehicle.

    One can but hope. But hark :here comes its mating call……………

  5. Hmm, so you believe this is a site to vent your bile, pT!

    Interesting continuance of your previous attempts to belittle others who have a different viewpoint.

    Maybe, you could do better presenting your own? Maybe it is not strong enough?

    (And I have NEVER denied climate change either. I do believe that most of the “solutions” put forward on this site are nonsense, many denying the laws of maths. and physics, and many from individuals who can’t even be bothered to check things before they post. Sorry if that upsets you but then there is an easy solution, except it seems easier for some to take the even easier route.)

    So, bile and lies. Well done. The double. You present a pretty picture for the anti collective.

  6. Squawk. Now I’ve stopped laughing….
    I have limited expertise in dickie birds, but I strongly suspect this would be a very short tenure for any ground nesting birds with such closely available cover for predators. On that basis, I presume it’s not one of your many areas of expertise either Martin. You will, however, be well aware that fugitive methane emissions are a big problem with most abandoned wells, irrespective of any lifeforms living in the vicinity. If you’re not a climate change denier, you will be acutely aware of the implications of such methane emissions and over what period of time.

  7. Well, hello Mike.

    I am really rather interested in how quickly the antis change their environmental spots to create a narrative.

    Were the antis AGAINST Cuadrilla wanting to delay re-instatement of a site where there was a concern about ground nesting birds? Yes, they were.

    And, you will find ground nesting birds, are by definition, not secure from predators- such as raptors (those that have not been minced by the wind turbines!)- so presume away but you may find like speculation, fabrication and lies, presumption is just another way to create a false narrative.

    Those raptors do indeed get around. Since the Newbury bypass was built the red kites have taken advantage, and are now soaring over the southern counties, again. Perhaps someone should pass a message down to Swampy? (Not sure they will need HS2 as they are pretty adept at following the motorways.)

    However, maybe Mr. Mason’s positivity will be proven via this methodology? Time will tell. But, fugitive methane emissions can be managed and I have confidence UK is more able to do so than some other countries, so another good reason for any oil and gas for UK to come from UK, when possible. Because it would take a climate change denier to accept import of oil and gas from countries without the same will or ability to control fugitive methane emissions, wouldn’t it? (Perhaps Mrs. Merkel can explain that around Nord Stream 2?) And that brings quite a few regulars on this site into that category who then wish to pin that label upon someone else. Deflection, irony or hypocrisy? Or just then quote “keep it in the ground”, which really results in more being taken out of someone else’s ground without the will or the ability to do it well! Or drive around in German diesels to join an anti protest?

    I do recall Ruth waxing lyrical about buzzards and butterflies around a site in the Weald. I think the presumption there was that could be put at risk, but I have yet to see any evidence of that at any UK on shore site I am aware of, and certainly not at Europe’s largest on shore oilfield at Wytch Farm. So, I don’t presume but look to the evidence. I also recall a narrative around emissions at the Kimmeridge site. Last time I was there the site was surrounded by cattle, emitting methane, and the divers I know who dive in Kimmeridge Bay have referred to gas bubbling to the surface continuously for as long as they have been diving, so maybe better to “get it out of that ground”? Although, the marine life seem to thrive somehow, with some new breeding evidence recently identified for bream.

    Not that different from geothermal energy really. All depends how it is done. You can find an example in Germany that may not be very attractive to TE locals with very significant property damage (much greater than even claimed around PNR), or there is the example in Southampton that has been very successful for many years.

    Generally, I would rather these issues were managed within UK, as there is a pretty good record here. (Perhaps Mr. Musk could be better managed regarding the environment if he built here instead of Germany?) I even think that some protest helps in that respect, but the sort of blinkered protest that simply ends up with a bigger issue over the horizon then visited upon the globe, is nonsensical, in my opinion. And, sorry, but I will keep on making that case. I may need a new keyboard because I do, but I would like that to come from UK material (if possible) and my old one to be recycled in UK, which is possible. Do I get an environmentalist badge, as a result? Sorry again, but I don’t want one that is based upon deflection, irony or hypocrisy, or a claim that my keyboard is aluminium! (Blasted US spell check-no, I will stick to UK, AGAIN.)

Add a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s